An extraordinary and emotional adventure about unlikely friends and the power of choosing who you want to be.
Jamie woke up in an empty apartment with no memory and only a few clues to his identity, but with the ability to read and erase other people’s memories—a power he uses to hold up banks to buy coffee, cat food and books.
Zoe is also searching for her past, and using her abilities of speed and strength…to deliver fast food. And she’ll occasionally put on a cool suit and beat up bad guys, if she feels like it.
When the archrivals meet in a memory-loss support group, they realize the only way to reveal their hidden pasts might be through each other. As they uncover an ongoing threat, suddenly much more is at stake than their fragile friendship. With countless people at risk, Zoe and Jamie will have to recognize that sometimes being a hero starts with trusting someone else—and yourself.
I was on the fence about requesting this book, but how can you not like a guy who robs banks (they’re insured!) to pay for cat food, books, and coffee? I also enjoyed Chen’s character-driven, postapocalyptic book, A Beginning at the End.
Some Twitter talk gave me the impression this book was more humorous than it actually is – in the majority of it, anyway. I chuckled a few times in the first couple chapters – then it takes a more serious tone – but the last thirty percent upped my rating to four stars. That’s when I really fell for these characters and their ride or die friendship (which started out nowhere close to that level).
Both Jamie and Zoe possess superhero powers, their origin a mystery. They have big blanks in their memories, and each of them awoke two years ago in separate strange rooms with no idea of who they were or how they got there. Taking on hero and villain personas, they only know each other as Throwing Star and Mind Robber, although Zoe isn’t your typical hero and Jamie certainly isn’t a supervillain. Both are wonderfully flawed, and their lives are messy. Once they decide working together will get them more answers about their pasts, much of the story is spent on that quest.
Don’t expect any jaw-dropping revelations to fall from the sky. It’s relatively easy to figure out what’s going on before the characters do. At around the seventy percent mark, the story takes an unexpected turn and, for me anyway, that’s when it becomes somewhat humorous. The overall message is that anyone can be a hero or a villain – it’s how you choose to use your powers and live your life that makes a difference in the world. With some fun action scenes, impressive character growth, and a strong theme of friendship, We Could Be Heroes is a satisfying read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Mike Chen is the author of Here And Now And Then (a finalist for Goodreads Choice – Best Sci-Fi, CALIBA Golden Poppy, and the Compton Crook Award) and A Beginning At The End (“a brilliant, fragile path through the darkness” — Library Journal). His short fiction is featured in Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View — The Empire Strikes Back, and he has covered geek culture for sites such as Tor.com, The Mary Sue, and StarTrek.com. In a previous life, he covered the NHL for Fox Sports, SB Nation, and other outlets. A member of SFWA, Mike lives in the Bay Area with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @mikechenwriter